Pujol receives “outstanding” review in Ascension

Ascension Parish Superintendent Patrice Pujol received a glowing performance review on Tuesday after meeting with School Board members in executive session for about 45 minutes.

“Dr. Pujol is an outstanding leader for our school system, our community and for public education,” Board President Troy Gautreau said.

“Dr. Pujol exudes leadership and class, and it permeates throughout her staff and the district. Dr. Pujol is recognized locally, statewide and nationally by her peers as a leader in all aspects of public education.”

Pujol, 56, is a lifelong Ascension Parish resident and educator who succeeded former Superintendent Donald Songy upon his retirement in June 2010.

The board unanimously gave Pujol a four-year contract extension in June 2012, giving her a $15,000 raise and bumping her base salary to $160,000 annually.

She received her doctorate in educational leadership from Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond in May, and her current contract will expire June 30, 2016.

Pujol thanked the board members for their support and willingness to work collaboratively to keep Ascension Parish as one of the top school districts in the state.

“At the end of the day, it’s all about our mission that we live and breathe by, and that’s that every child is successful in an ever-changing world,” Pujol said.

TEACHER PAY: The board also agreed to hand out more than $1.8 million in one-time teacher pay to all school district employees this school year.

The state Legislature mandated a one-time pay raise for all certified teachers as part of its budget compromise that included $69 million in additional funding to public schools. According to the formula used by the state, Ascension Parish received approximately $1.6 million to fund the raises.

With 1,410 certified teachers on staff and paying out $657 to each teacher, the district was mandated to spend nearly $1.2 million, including retirement, Medicare and workers’ compensation. However, the board agreed to give the district’s 289 other “certificated and degreed” staff members the $657 raise too.

The district’s 1,089 support personnel will receive a $300 bonus, pushing the district’s commitment to approximately $255,000 more than it will receive from the state. The board decided to fund the raises anyway but hold off until a time when the gap could be funded through additional sales tax revenues.